The Perverted Ghosts of Mars (5800 words)
What a pleasure it is to be able to write such a sentence: “Ghosts of Mars is good.” Back in the day, like most people, I had been very disappointed in the film. I didn’t know Carpenter too much, I had seen many of his films without knowing he was the director, and expected a sci-fi action flick that makes everything easy for the (male) audience. The fact that it should take place in a matriarchal society was even more intriguing and fun to me. It meant that not only would it have great action but it was certainly going to be exotic and fun, even smart maybe.
But the movie was filled with inconsistencies, ridiculous sequences and huge plot holes. Two things that made it beyond repair for me were the big action scene when they abandon the idea of going to the train and suddenly become Rambos, and the final decision of going back to the base and blow it. I had a lot of other problems with the film but the positives would have overbalanced the negatives if it’s wasn’t for these two huge and weird U-turns in the proceedings of things.
Also, although I truly wanted the film to be action packed, the heavy-metal music that underlined each action scenes ruined them for me as it made them somewhat self-referential: “Look ! A bad ass action scene ! Behold how they magnificently kick ass !”
It was in 2002. I rewatched the film yesterday with a friend of mine, because I wanted to check to what extend the “matriarchy” plot influenced the general story and I knew my friend would enjoy the style. Before we started watching the film I warned her, “Remember that it’s bad, so don’t get too interested in it, it will eventually be disappointing.”
But as soon as the film started, my hopes rose up: the whole story is told by Melanie Ballard, Natasha Henstridge’s character. A designated narrator is, ninety percent of the time, the confession that the story is a lie. The whole film becomes in this case a nice search for the truth: what can I believe ? What is a lie ?
One thing that supports this idea is that when her report ends, Melanie Ballard is still in the course of lying very naturally, pretending that she woke up handcuffed and never talked to James “desolation” Williams after he attached her (which also means that her entire lie can be summed up to hiding the nature of her relationship with "Desolation" Williams and of its consequences on her mission). If she is lying there, anything that was told to us since the beginning of the film is potentially a lie.
If it seems logical that the president of the council should want to determine what happened in the city, the reason why us, the audience, would want to examine Melanie’s report critically instead of remaining passive is less obvious. In fact, when the president, in her last sentence in the film, raises the question of whether there are ghosts on Mars or not and what they should tell the cartel, it seems quite insignificant as we have witnessed the whole story and know “for a fact” that there are ghosts on Mars.
But that’s where things actually become interesting. The fact that Melanie Ballard is potentially lying, and that the main question of the film should be “are there ghosts on Mars,” suggests that everything could have happened without the intervention of supernatural spirits. Ghosts of Mars is a movie that you can watch and point a finger at saying “this is bullshit, things can’t have happened that way.”
How can we discriminate between the very clumsy scene of a clumsy movie and a clumsy lie from Melanie Ballard then, you’ll ask me. Well, I don’t know, all the more so as Vampires (Carpenter's previous movie) was already quite clumsy at times. If you’re not ready to believe that the film is better than it seems, you can move on. But let me give you one example of Melanie’s obvious lying which tends to make the film look bad if you take things literally. When the survivors are safely leaving Shining canyon on the train (1h14m) Melanie suddenly declares: “We’ve got to go back.” Then she argues that what’s happening represent a serious threat and that they have an opportunity to stop it that they will not have again. However her speech is unconvincing to the utmost, nobody truly reacts apart from the train pilot. Jericho and Bashira only bring James Williams in the equation but barely question her decision. Arlene remains silent although her facial expression shows that she is on the pilot’s side.
The thing is, Melanie’s idea is plain stupid; bringing intelligence about what’s going in Shining Canyon would be a lot more useful than taking huge risks in order to achieve the nothing they end up achieving. Moreover, as Bashira points out, her mission is accomplished; they were only supposed to fetch James “desolation” William. The scene is concluded by the latter stating stupidly “if I’m to die, I’m to die fightin’ not runnin’.” This remark is incoherent as the events that took place in Shining canyon are supposed to have shed a new light on his “criminal” behaviours and facing the savages should sound a lot more dangerous to him than simply following the team to Chryse. So they return to Shining Canyon, everybody dies apart from Melanie and James and at the end of the film, the big city is attacked by the savages. All these incoherences are easy to consider as flaws, but still, they also point at Melanie’s deceptiveness and at an underlying meaning.
When the woman enters the council room at the beginning of the film, she is asked to sit down. Instead of doing so she asks for a lawyer. Why ? Has she been accused of anything ? No. She went on a mission and came back alone, asleep and handcuffed in a train on autopilot: She is innocence and powerlessness incarnated but already expects to be accused of something.
Diving into the ramifications of Melanie’s lying cannot be done without a psychological contextualization of the character. She is a lieutenant coming back from a mission that she failed on every possible levels. All of her crew members are dead, the prisoner she was supposed to bring back has escaped and she was found on a couch, incapacitated and drugged. It is easy to imagine that she might want to lie to hide her incompetence.
To do so, she would resort to several deceptive tools in the construction of her tale. For example, she could pin the fatal decisions she’s taken on someone else, inventing an additional person could be useful. She could also underline the moments at which she more or less proved herself capable. Overcomplicating the facts would be a good idea too, so that the listener becomes understanding about her disorientation and mistakes. If they cannot understand what was going on there, how could she have ?
This gives us a first line of approach: the account of a lieutenant who has failed miserably at her mission and wants to look the least incompetent possible.
But this wouldn’t be very interesting if the film was just that: a lie to cover her ass. There is a need for a second interpretative angle which would explain why she failed and what would the ghosts be if truly there aren’t any. This is given by the subtext of the film which is to be linked with the main character’s arc. Because… did you spot any evolution in Melanie’s character ? One of the other flaws of the movie that isn’t one, is the characters’ flatness. Truly, their narrative arcs are buried. And, why wouldn’t they be ? As revealing them would betray Melanie’s secret motivations.
The meaning behind everything that happens in Shining Canyon is sexual. It often is the case in movies that there is a sexual subtext and it is the case in Ghosts of Mars. And how disappointing would it be if a story which takes place in a matriarchy did not tackle sexual relations between its characters ? I remember I felt frustrated by the fact that we do not get to see what the matriarchal society looks like. How is a street in a matriarchal society? How is a bar ? What do TV shows look like ? Cops ? Sports ? Couples ? Families ? I craved for some funny details and all that the film had to offer me was bad-tempered and condescending female superiors and a very forward Jason Statham.
In reality, there is a bit more than that. All the characters are actually defined according to their sexual orientation and their hierarchical position in the matriarchal society. Because men are to be despised, being attracted to them is perceived as a weakness and a flaw. Commandant Helena Braddock is homosexual and soon makes advances to Melanie.
Helena - I need you straight Melanie (touching her shoulder sensually)
Melanie – Don’t worry about that commander. I’m as straight as they come.
Helena - Such a shame.
Melanie later explains Jericho that this dodged sexual intercourse with Helena was certainly the price to pay to get promoted. By refusing it, Melanie displayed a strong and conscious heterosexual orientation that did not escape the man. As a flirting approach he tells his sergeant that maybe it was not about a promotion but that Commandant Helena “just has good tastes in women.”
Melanie’s account of her mission has barely started that she has already been hit on by two of her colleagues. And Bashira actually listened carefully when she answered Helena about being straight. Another interested one ?
Ghosts of Mars takes place in a matriarchy but actually tells us the story of a trip of some men and women outside of it. They are not on earth anymore and neither are they in a big city of Mars, the planet they are brutally colonizing. They get through a storm and feel isolated, suddenly, the matriarchy doesn’t feel so strong and powerful anymore, it feels remote. Subversive ideas may be springing in minds.
Not to mention that the story takes place on MARS. Where do men come from again ? So, when the matriarchy is colonizing Mars and exterminating its inhabitants, it’s actually females who are going for the root of manhood in order to erase it once and for all.
Anyway, as they distance themselves from the heavy fetters of matriarchy, the characters become more able to listen to their deeper selves. Jericho jumps on Melanie’s unconscious/involuntary hint at her desire for sex and offers himself. Of course she rejects him, “Maybe I’d sleep with you if you were the last man on earth, but we’re not on earth,” but we know that eventually she accepts his proposal.
It is important here to keep in mind that it is a situation NEW to them. They may not be virgins, still, their experience of sex with the opposite gender is peculiar. For Helena, it doesn’t matter but for Bashira or Melanie, this mission in Shining Canyon might be the opportunity to explore themselves. Wait a minute… “Explore themselves” in the “Shining Canyon.” If it’s not enough for you, it is also said that Shining Canyon is in the “South Valley.”
Yes, Shining Canyon is a vagina, and the train (the Yankee) is a penis. The whole story of Ghosts of Mars revolves around sexual intercourse between men and women when their gender roles are too hostile to each other. If you like phallic trains, check the ending shot of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest or the sex-related dream of the teenage girl in Species.
Does this makes the film good ? No. What makes Ghosts of Mars good is that the metaphor carries on throughout the film and allows you to understand what is going on in the characters’ mind. For example, when Jericho and Melanie visits the town and he keeps on reminding her how ready he is to have sex with her and she tells him, “Maybe I’d sleep with you if you were the last man on earth, but we’re not on earth,” there is some sort of roll of thunder (voltage overload) and they both look at a mysteriously lit building.
What happens here is that Melanie has just realized that “they’re not on earth.” By her joke she meant that usually he’d have very few chances to sleep with her but that in the present situation it was even less interesting. But by saying “we’re not on earth” she realizes that actually, Jericho’s proposal is worth considering and the sole idea of it is arousing. The sound and the light are a metaphor of her libido coming back to life. Five seconds ago he was offering to “open the door,” boasting about how much “machines love [him]” but she refused, suggesting that they should ask the commandant before. The authority of the matriarchy stops her from allowing anything remotely sexual to happen with a man, but once she’s realized that they’re out of its jurisdiction, she opens up a little bit and what Jericho discovers is pretty freaky.
They decide to check the building out and it becomes a representation of Melanie’s sexuality. It is completely messed up. The blood everywhere underlines the suffering that the woman endures and the multiples scissors and blades and spikes are the intrusion of an exterior influential and repressive authority. It does not mean that she does not want to have sex, it means that something that is not a part of her forces her to reject it. She is some sort of vagina dentata. The scene ends on Jericho witnessing the slicing of a woman’s hand. He now knows how fragile Melanie truly is.
Outside this building, Jericho is faced with their colleague, the invisible man who serves no purpose and is never developed. This underwritten character too makes the film look bad. But truly, he serves a purpose; he is the asexual (or homosexual) male. If he seems to be here only to be killed, it is because Melanie isn’t interested in him in the least, something that which supports the idea that she is always “conscious” of who is a potential sex partner and who is not. That poor guy, when he is slaughtered by the savages, gets is arm chopped off, looks at it and just carries on shooting as if nothing had happened. He doesn’t even cry out of pain… another thing that makes the film look stupid. But his arm is used for its phallic signification. The man has just been emasculated and it doesn’t make any difference to him. That’s how Melanie perceives him and that’s how she reconstructs him in her account of what happened.
Another man who gets emasculated is James Williams’ friend when he tries to impress a woman by opening a can with a machete and cuts his thumb, thus returning to a prior evolutionary state; before the human animal got an opposable thumb. This association between “following your sexual urges” and “regressing evolutionwise” is the same as the one females of the matriarchy spontaneously make because they despise men. They perceive men as primitive. And men too perceive themselves as such, which is why the guy cuts his thumb: he cannot properly enact a meaningful ritual of “seduction” in front of the female he desires because at the same time, he knows she will despise him.
To this accident James “desolation” Williams exclaims: “That’s beautiful ! That’s what you get, dumbass !” Aside from the fact that he is an insensitive asshole, we should note that he finds “beautiful” an amputated phallus (Metaphorical, just like the woman’s arm earlier) and also that he considers the cut thumb a deserved punishment of some sort. Punished for what ? Having taken drugs ? Flirting heavily with a woman ? This guy has a problem.
After Melanie has shown the poor state of her vagina to Jericho, they come across the asexual man who is nearly killed by the latter. I suppose this face to face encounter suggests that Jericho is contemplating the idea of giving up on sex after what he's just seen.
On her side, Bashira has explored her boss’ sexuality, the recfec building. That one isn’t a mess, it is a “slaughter,”a word which shocks the inquisitor (16min) and that Melanie will be very quick to put back in her subordinate’s mouth. Why is this word a problem to the inquisitor ? Because she and the commandant have the same sexuality. They both are imprisoned in a forced homosexuality because of their contempt and hate for men. If Melanie is a dangerous sex partner (scissors, blood and blades in her building), Helena would rather kill him than have sex with a guy.
At this point, the characters are in this situation:
- Commandant Helena is in a dead-end because she will only have sex with Melanie or Bashira and both of them aren’t interested.
- Bashira is a virgin and is not yet aware of her sex urges although she definitely was traumatized by Helena’s.
- Jericho wants to have sex but not with Melanie anymore. He knows Helena is a “queen bee” but still could give it a try stubborn as he is, and then, there’s Bashira.
- Michael invisible man isn’t interested in sex, or is homosexual, or a virgin ?
- Melanie is now humiliated and has no option anymore but the one man they came to fetch.
There appears Dr. Arlene Whitlock who is to be the experienced and satisfied woman of the lot. It is her exploration of a tunnel and opening of a gate with her “boyfriend”, at the Mine of Drucker’s Ridge that frees the ghosts: “It was me, I opened Pandora’s box, I let them out.” The ghosts are her sex urges, she is the tunnel. (And the Pandora's box is quite often female libido, Kiss Me Deadly, Raiders of the Lost Arch ?).
At 22min30, Melanie comes across a silent Bashira who stands straight, her gun pointed at a locker from which comes a bumping sound. They open it and discover the first “possessed” person. It represents Bashira’s sexual awakening; she comes out of the closet.
“It was almost like she was possessed, like there was some kind of force inside of her.” Yep, libido.
In the course of the mission, the naive young woman realized her sexual craving, several minutes later, she lets James “Desolation” Williams out for “some food” and he takes advantage of the situation. She was trying to lose her virginity with the only guy available (transparent man is transparent), but Melanie wants him too, thus the “I can’t let you take the rookie, take me instead.”
Let’s forget the sexual stuff five seconds and just come back to the lies. Several times in the film, you’ll see Melanie kick some guy’s ass, (At 46min she submits Uno and at 1h06min she destroys a savage single-handedly) but when she fights James Williams, she fails miserably and gets knocked out in one punch. The difference there is between these two victories and that one defeat is that as James William escaped her in the end, she cannot make a “pussy” out of him. Who knows ? Maybe she did not even fight that guy when she was outside on her own. And why would Uno need to say something as convenient as “I’ll cut your tities off !” before she twists his arm unconvincingly ? Convenient because with this story Melanie can show the inquisitor that she never strayed away from the values of the matriarchy. And also, is it really believable that James “Desolation” Williams had three friends called “Uno,” “Dos” and “Très” or that they were stupid enough to enter the latter’s cell before Melanie could lock them in ? No.
Even more interesting is the fact that when they tell Jericho their story, they are totally believable as survivors until suddenly they take out their weapons and become criminals here to save their friend. Jericho grunts: “So only cops have guns hey… you fucking pricks !” and Uno answers in a very sarcastic way “we lied.” This teasing is very peculiar because it applies to the audience too. Normally, the film would develop several suspicious elements before the truth is revealed so that we are given a chance to suspect something or at least we can find the new turn of events plausible. Here, the revelation, although believable, falls absolutely from nowhere and feels cheap. If the writing is so clumsy it is because Uno, Dos and Très do not exist. Melanie is inventing them to bring the fact that she let James Williams out of his cell more easily. What about the last words Très utters before he dies ?:
Shakespearian isn’t it ? Also, Melanie’s constant defiant attitude in front of the said brother feels forced and uncalled for ; an attempt at looking courageous in the eyes of the inquisitor ?
Another narrative technique she uses to convince her audience of the truth of her account is the embedded narrative. It is quite confusing to witness flashbacks of other characters inside Melanie’s account as it tends to contradict its essential subjectivity… which is exactly why Melanie put them there, to confuse the audience.
When William’s friends explain how the people of the mine got possessed and started to become violent (which must have some truth in it but simply isn’t their version), it is already inside the reported experience of Jericho. It is just as if Melanie wanted to distance herself from the version she is going to give of the story: “It’s not me who is saying it ! I’m as suspicious as you are, except that I was there.”
Arlene Whitlock’s story and existence can be put into question too. She is the one person whose story supports Melanie’s version of the carnage but how does she arrive in the plot ? She falls from the sky. She spends most of the time her mouth shut even though she seems to have a strong personality. She seems to have been “toned down” by the narrator because when we take a closer look at Arlene, we can notice that she resents the killing of all the “savages.” Also, her reaction to the “riots” and killings is to hide in a cell. She hides from ghosts and savages thirst for blood by imprisoning herself ? Absurd. She does this to prevent herself from deliberately joining them, something she eventually does at the end of the film.
These characters who all help create the illusion that the ghost story comes from different sources could well just be inventions.
There is one event in the film that I was relieved to suddenly understand as a manipulation of the facts done by Melanie: the suicidal rush to the train station where there isn’t a train. When they all leave the building to reach the train station (50min40s), Uno and William point out that they “don’t see no train” on the rails. If the film was only very badly written and stupid, these objections wouldn’t have been raised. The absence of train would have been made to come as a shock and a complete surprise for the spectator. Instead, the whole group just follows Melanie blindly even though it is obvious that the train isn’t there and they could just wait inside the building and check on it ten minutes later.
If Melanie depicts such a ridiculous initiative, it is not for the pleasure of looking stupid. On the contrary, she tells this lie so as to create a moment at which she was at the train station with her crew, all the survivors and the prisoner she was supposed to bring back. This lie indirectly says: “I had accomplished my mission, everything is the train pilots’ fault.”
Stuck and out of ideas, the situation asks for a manly man to decide what should be done. And bang bang, James William starts shooting at the savages with “style.” Again, the fight that follows is an invention. It is Melanie’s fantasy of kicking butts. And James William’s ridiculous bad ass behaviour is part of the fantasy. The music heavily comments on all that.
If we take a look at our team of heroes we can notice that they are outnumbered and totally uncovered, with enemies throwing projectiles at them from the top of buildings, and others coming to fight them in hand-to-hand combat. It is like the perfect ambush that two cowboys could set to fifteen outlaws they want to kill. Except that the outnumbered heroes would be the ones on higher grounds ! This fight is a joke, the odds are crushingly against the “heroes” and still they’re allowed to show off their magnificent combat skills. Because Melanie is lying.
Going back to sexual stuff. At 35min, Jericho finds Helena’s head on a spike and is quite disappointed as he’s certainly not going to have sex with her now… unless… no. So there’s only the rookie or trying again with Melanie, but the latter is totally into “Desolation.” When Jericho tests his luck again with her in an isolated room (he managed to transform the vagina dentata of their first attempt into something “rather cosy”), her acceptance is just due to a cold calculation, she wants to be more confident for James. She is only using him… or is she. I’m not sure. Sincere feelings are often expressed among a pile of lies and manipulations when someone is scared of being hurt.
Luckily for Jericho, Bashira interrupts them by killing a possessed man. Most likely, it means that she fancies Jericho, but not necessarily. The ghost is freed and takes possession of Melanie. So what are the ghosts ? Is it simply, sexual arousal ? Melanie burns with desire and loses her senses.
On one side we have characters who have totally suppressed their sexuality and now use it in a very practical way: ”Do you wanna be promoted ? Lie down,” “Do you wanna have sex with me ? Let me ask the commandant if she agrees.” On the other side, we have a group of savages who are entirely submitted to their sexual urges, they are possessed by them. The beheaded are the non-desired as defined by Helena and poor king Michael the transparent. When she describes the state of being possessed, Melanie choses her words funnily: ”I was aware of having… thoughts.” It feels like a confession done to a priest.
“Father forgive me for I have sinned. I’ve had... thoughts.”
“What kind of thoughts” said the priest, slowly reaching for his penis.
“Dirty thoughts father”
“Yes, my dear ? But more precisely ?”
The fact that the drug should drive the spirit out has a double meaning. As seen when the guy cuts his thumb while trying to impress a woman, drugs can make a human being a slave to his urges. But Melanie’s drug is supposed to make her “clear” just like she tells Helena in the train. Being clear, certainly means “being in control.” When she is under the influence of her drug, Melanie feels transported by the waves of the ocean, the encrusted symbol of her necklace becomes three dimensional and moves and shapeshifts in an infinity of patterns. I would say, all of these images are to be related with virginity, the foetal stage, cycles, and earth, the planet of the matriarchy. I’d say Melanie somewhat dreams of being powerless and thus innocent and that this drug kills her libido which, as said before, makes her feel weak, guilty and filthy because it is oriented towards these despicable men. When she wakes up, the first thing she does is literally destroy a man with her bare hands.
During the fight, there are several close shots of the leg of the poor man being torn and broken. She is back and as hostile to “manhood” as ever. This is a regression of course because what would be positive for her character would be to take the responsibility for her sexual urges and stop being lethal to those who inspire them in her.
The die is cast.
Everything is destined to go wrong now that she has fallen back into her iron maiden state. She had already been ignoring Jericho for some time but now, he stands no chance anymore against James William. When she “knocks” on the door and both men wonder whether they should open or not, Jericho is ok as soon as he hears her speak, but she addresses Williams and refers to their “intimate” conversation of earlier with “Come on William, the tide is getting high out here.” (and yet, this refers to Melanie getting wet. She follows John Williams because she thinks he has secretly promissed to take care of her sexually. Which won't happen as he is gay. The suppressing blond and the homosexual. So 2016.)
While they use Jericho’s plan to escape, Bashira climbs to a metal structure to check whether the train is there or not. Yes, you’ve read well. Why didn’t they do that before instead of following Melanie stupidly ? Because there wasn’t a before. The savages force the door and both couples hold them back. By the way the young woman is now excessively confidant, it seems that Jericho and Bashira had sex while Helena was outside. Good for you Bashira. You’re a better human being anyway.
They all get to the train in a small truck and we arrive at the second scene which was too dumb for me to like the film : the “let’s all go back and die stupidly” plan. As said before, there isn’t a good reason for the characters to turn around like they do. But there are a lot of bad reasons. Bashira is naive enough to think her superior is honest and obeys as a subordinate after having pointed out that the mission was to bring back the prisoner. Dr.Arlene Whitlock knows it is suicide but cannot say anything because she is irresistibly drawn towards the possessed. Jericho asks if Williams is on their side or their prisoner because he still feels in competition with the guy and thus don’t wanna look like a coward in the eyes of Melanie or displease her by stating that her new plan is stupid. For the second time Williams, who pretends that surviving is what he does best, is all for the suicidal mission, because he actually knows why Melanie wants to go back. She wants everybody to die in order to be left alone with him.
The train pilot dies logically, nothing sexual about it for once. He just gets killed as a proof of his being right earlier. Whitlock dawdles and is possessed just like she wanted. Then Melanie is wounded by the leader of the savages because she is aroused by him (Deeper cut than with Williams). Jericho slows down to wait for Melissa and causes Bashira to get beheaded because she found her confidence in the fact that he fancied her. Like Helena and Michael, she is decapitated because she feels rejected. Jericho then lets himself be outnumbered by the savages out of guilt. He dies of his “greediness,” he wanted both women at the same time when the two scenarios excluded each other’s.
Of course, the staging of the event is more than likely a lie. Having her troops Killed In Action is the perfect way for Melanie not to suffer any consequence of her failure. But it is doubtful that they all got killed in less than two minutes. Jericho and Bashira certainly didn’t truly die like that. For example, Melanie and Williams might have abandoned them to their fate as soon as they reached the train.
Some savages climb on the last wagon and approach the locomotive. Williams fights them and get rid of the leader by simply detaching the wagon: there cannot be a rivalry fight between them as Williams is homosexual, no competition, he will always be the toughest to get and therefore the one than Melanie wants. As for her, she fights a bad guy who is wearing a glove with long steel blades, no touching anymore, and throws him out of the train. The bomb they’ve set explodes and there is nothing left of Shining Canyon.
Wait. There is nothing left of Shining Canyon ? So absolutely everything could be a lie ! Damn.
Anyway, Williams duplicity is revealed, he never was interested in Melanie and everytime he saved her or talked to her, or supported her ideas, it was only in order to have her on his side when the time comes. She got rid of everybody for him, now he can simply attach her and leave. Yes Melanie, you’re a fu**ing idiotic b**ch. You sacrificed a lot of nice people just to get screwed by a guy who seduced and manipulated you. That's what you get dumbass !
The conclusion of the film is double. On the one side, you have Melanie who fantasizes that the invasion of sexual urges (the ghosts) is not over and that James Williams comes back to team up with her. Isn’t that cuuuuuuute ?
“Come on baby ! Keep dreaming that you don't have the brain of a fourteen years old girl and that I didn’t stand you up.”
On the other side, her story of a manly rebel who doesn’t treat her “nicely” but competitively and thus is not trying to manipulate her (she naively thinks) brought fatazy material to the "girls" of the city. The “Evil” libido will necessarily come back.
As said earlier, James William is most probably homosexual (unwelcome on Mars, pink pants, not attracted to any woman in the story), and that’s why a woman who totally rejects her sexuality ends up thinking he is the man. She’s been in love with him since he dared say “I like you”. It hit her like a punch in the face. And she was delighted to have to prove herself to “get to him.”
Anyway, I started this long essay with the statement that Ghosts of Mars was a good film. Is it an excellent film ? No. Although the clumsiness of most clumsy elements is justified and is meaningful, there are many movies out there which are ambiguous and which make you doubt about the main character's intentions without resorting to elements that unsubtle. Still, it is a fun movie to watch and question, and contrary to Nolan’s films, it doesn’t flatter its audience with the idea that they are watching something very smart. It is smart but, just like for most truly intelligent movies, it’s your job to notice it.